Patient safety is the prime consideration for NHSBT. Although rare, bacteria may enter a blood pack during either the donation process, or manufacture and storage. Platelets are stored at 22°C and continually agitated which makes them an ideal media for bacteria to grow. Approximately 280,000 adult therapeutic doses of platelets are produced per annum.
Without screening, platelets have a shelf life of just five days. This is because longer storage times increase the risk of bacterial proliferation, which could lead to sepsis and impact patient prognosis. By screening platelets 36 hours after donation, any bacteria present will have had sufficient time to grow to a detectable limit. This has the dual benefits of allowing the shelf life to be increased to seven days and increasing patient safety.
Ian Reeves, National Strategy manager for NHSBT, said: “After careful consideration of all the tenders received, bioMérieux’ s BacT/ALERT® 3D system was selected to maintain bacterial safety of our platelet products. We will commence screening at our pilot site later this year and should be able to ‘go live’ early in 2011.”
“We are proud that NHSBT recognised the performances of our automated technology for bacterial screening,” said Alexandre Mérieux, bioMérieux Corporate Vice President, Industrial Microbiology. “bioMérieux is committed to providing diagnostic solutions to improve public health worldwide.”